When you think of the most physically freakish members of a professional football team, the offensive guards generally are not the first people that came to mind. However, most offensive guards aren't Randall McDaniel, either.
McDaniel was selected by the Vikings with the 19th overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft out of Arizona State University. Surprisingly, he was only the third offensive guard off of the board that year, having gone behind Dave Cadigan (who went to the New York Jets at number eight) and Eric Moore (to the Giants at number ten). Sufficient to say, McDaniel had a slightly better career than either of those guys did.
McDaniel became a fixture for the Vikings on the offensive line from the first time he stepped on the field. Just how good was McDaniel? How about this. . .
He went to the Pro Bowl ten times in the eleven years he was a Viking. The only year he didn't make it was his rookie year of 1988. After that, every season from 1989 to 2000, McDaniel earned a trip to Hawai'i. (That includes the two years he played with Tampa Bay after he was released from the Vikings.)
He was a first-team All-Pro every year from 1990 to 1998.
He was second-team all NFC in 1988. Every other year for the rest of his career, he was first-team all NFC.
Lastly, he was named a member of the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1990s. . .as though there were a lot of other choices.
Now, generally when one talks about an offensive lineman, there are not a lot of great moments to choose from or anything like that. But one thing that every Viking fan remembers about Randall McDaniel was his stance, which was pretty unorthodox, to say the least. (You can see a picture of said stance here. . .I couldn't find a picture that we're licensed to use to represent it.) Our own Ted Glover got a chance to ask McDaniel about his stance in an interview he conducted with the Vikings' legend this past October, and this is what he had to say about it.
DN: Speaking of your playing days--your stance, we gotta talk about it. You had arguably the most unorthodox stance for a lineman in NFL history, but it worked out well for you. How did that stance come to be, and how many times did coaches try to get you to change it to the "more traditional" stance for a lineman?
RM: (Laughs). Here’s the thing. It was a traditional stance when I started. My first year in the league it was normal, and my second year it started out normal. I got rolled on to about three weeks into the season against Pittsburgh. I had to come out of the game, and I wasn’t supposed to play for four weeks. They fitted me with an old Don Joy brace that someone else had used, because I was a young guy and we don’t get the new stuff.
So the second week of me being out, they dressed me out because I was running around a lot better in practice. I got tossed back into the game, because the guy that replaced me wasn’t doing very well, and the coach figured I should get in there. It was a passing situation, I needed to get lower in my stance, and that brace stopped me from getting down to where I needed to be. So I turned my foot out so I could get into that stance, and at the end of the game the d(efensive) lineman told me he had no clue what I was doing from that stance. And I thought if he doesn’t know what I’m doing, I’m going to stick with it.
My line coach told me if I couldn’t get out of it he was going to make me change back, so I worked to make sure I could always get out of it, and to this day if I have to get into a stance, that stance comes up. I wouldn’t recommend it for kids, and I tell them not to do it, but it worked for me. I tell kids that’s my stance, no one else can do it, and if you want to use that stance you have to do everything I did with that stance. If you can’t, don’t get in it.
McDaniel was enshrined in Canton in 2009, and was a part of some great Viking offensive lines during the time he was in Minnesota. Somebody with McDaniel's list of accomplishments would certainly have to be considered among the best draft choices in the history of any franchise, and Viking fans are quite happy that he was a part of this one.
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